Easy Hoppin’ John

Last week I shared the collard greens I prepared for our New Year’s feast and today I am sharing the recipe for the Hoppin’ John that we had to go along with the greens! This recipe is as simple as it is tasty! Hoppin’ John is considered a Low Country food and I have grown up eating it all my life in South Carolina. I am not really a fan of blackeyed peas but the rice and the seasoning that the bacon gives really accompany them so well that I do not mind them at all in this dish! As you make this dish your home will smell delicious as the scent of bacon reminds me of home! Feel free to try your hand at some traditional South Carolinan food!

Hoppin’ John

  • 2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 2 cups cooked and drained black eyed peas
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock(reduced sodium)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet fry 3 slices of center cooked bacon. Remove bacon (crumble to use on a salad or something later or you can just eat it). 
  2. While you’re frying the bacon cook the one cup of rice in a rice cooker or on the stove.
  3. After the bacon is removed, saute the onion in the bacon drippings for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and cooked rice until heated through and add the chicken stock and stir
  5. Salt and Pepper to taste
  6. Enjoy!

Winter Decor

Just because you took down those trees and that beautiful garland doesn’t mean you need to not re-decorate. I am talking about gorgeous Winter decorations that have nothing to do with ornaments or Christmas lights. Think snow!! When I think of snow and Winter, I think of white and raw. What does that mean? Raw as in sticks and pine cones because that’s what you see all over the ground in Winter. Here in the south, instead of tons of snow, we see another white substance, Cotton! I am a huge fan of using cotton as decor. I love to see it incorporated all over the home this time of year! I have selected a few examples of Winter decor that I love and decided to share them with you! I hope this inspires you do get a little creative and fight off those Christmas blues!

Stay tuned this week as I plan to share a little of our Christmas trip! 

Crock-Pot Collard Greens

Sorry for my absence these past few days! It seems that if you travel for 9 days straight in cars and on planes and are around thousands of people you have a really good chance of getting sick! I am feeling better and am back with a recipe I prepared on New Years Day! 

Around the country there are many traditions as to what should be your first meal in the New Year! Here in the south we are no different. Legend is that you should eat collard greens(which represent cash money), blackeyed peas(representing change and cents), corn bread(representing gold) and ham hocks or pork(representing positive motion forward since a pig cannot turn his foot anyway but forward). The saying goes “Eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year.” So I wanted to try my hand at making this traditional southern meal for my husband as he had never heard of this tradition that I would never miss at my Meme’s house growing up! 

These turned out good and they were super easy. I love the Crock-Pot so much because it’s a set it and forget it appliance. Mike was a good sport and tried them and he responded with just how I thought, “they’re bitter.” Well that’s exactly how they’re supposed to taste! Next year I think I’ll cook cabbage instead since it is a green that I actually love! Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try your hand at easy collards!

Crock Pot Collard Greens

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion; chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 3 bunches collard greens; cut
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water

  1. Add bacon to pan heated to Med/High and fry until crisp. Remove bacon and crumble.
  2. While bacon is frying, chop and wash greens. I used my salad spinner to get them clean and dry.
  3. Add onion to pan that bacon was cooked in. Sautee for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add: chicken broth, water, salt and peper and the bacon back to the pan. Heat up for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add clean greens to Crock Pot and top with mixture from the bacon pan.
  5. Cook all day(8-10) hours on Low. The greens will cook way down in the pot!
  6. Enjoy!
I hope you had a fabulous New Year and that 2014 will be filled with health, wealth and prosperity!

Weekend Update: Thanksgiving Edition

Over the Thanksgiving weekend we traveled to Georgia to spend the holiday with my in-laws where we ate delicious food and enjoyed each others company. My beloved Gamecocks also beat our arch rival to make it 5 years in a row! It was a fabulous weekend and below are some highlights of our holiday!

Meeting my new “brother-in-law” for the first time!

The husband and I right before the turkey was put in the fryer
The finished product! It was the best turkey I’ve ever had!
The three Arnold pups!
Pumpkin getting in the Christmas spirit!
I hope y’all had a fabulous holiday weekend! I am so ready to experience the most exciting time of the year!
Stay southern,

No Sew Monogram Pillow Update

This weekend I decided to get a little crafty and try to see how hard it would be to cut fabric with my Silhouette Cameo. So first, I did a little Googling on the subject, watched this video and read on a few forums about how the fabric would need to be interfaced before cutting it to make it stiffer and easier to cut. I read that Heat’n Bond was the best product to use so that’s what I went with.The bonding agent I bought was awesome as first you interface the fabric and then all you need to do is peel off the back layer and it becomes an iron on bond to another piece of fabric. It is a little more expensive than regular interfacing but since I wanted to iron on and no-sew this project it was actually cheaper, and done all in one step! 
For my first fabric project I decided that I wanted to monogram the throw pillows on our bed! We have had these pillows for about 18 months and I was ready for an update because I hear chevron print is on it’s way out! I first decided how large I wanted my monograms. I chose 8×8 inches as my pillows are 16×16 and I wanted to have a good size monogram but not too huge where it dwarfed the pillow. I wanted a circle monogram so I used the font I purchase from FontBros. After that I just cut my fabric and ironed it well and cut the correct size of the Heat’n Bond to adhere to it. Next I was ready to load it into my machine to be cut. It really was as easy as setting the Silhouette to the settings the software recommended and hitting cut! Out comes a perfect fabric monogram in about 60 seconds! Finally all you need to do is pick out the inner parts of the letters and then iron them onto your pillow case!! 
I am so excited to use this machine to cut fabric! I now have tons of ideas flowing through my head for the holidays and beyond! I am glad it was so easy and that it didn’t tear up the blade. I will say that there is a fabric blade for the Cameo that is recommended but I had a thin cotton fabric and there was no issue for the machine to cut it at all.
I have now cut paper, vinyl and fabric with my cameo. It really is an amazing tool and I think I have only scratched the surface of all that it can do! Stay tuned for more crafty ideas!
Stay southern,

Pumpkin Patch and Weekend Fun!


This past weekend we took a little afternoon jaunt out to Caledonia, Mississippi where we decided to check out the Country Pumpkins Pumpkin Patch! Mike and I have bought pumpkins every year we’ve been together and carved them! I had heard from several people that we should go there so we decided to see what the fuss was all about! They had pumpkins galore from tiny to huge you could find whatever you needed(pumpkin and gourd wise). There was also a lot of activities for families and children. We enjoyed our little outing to the pumpkin patch and were actually impressed at the size of the place. We have something different in mind with the pumpkins this year though and we have started them but will hopefully finish later today! We ended out the evening with a trip to one of our favorite restaurants in the area, Huck’s Place where we had the amazing Crawfish Nachos!! In all, it was a perfect fall afternoon followed by a gorgeous full moon!

Holding an apple gourd. I think these are so cool!
Husband pulling our loot!
Gorgeous Mississippi sky

Stay southern,

Weekend Update

This past weekend was Homecoming here at Mississippi State and the town was buzzing with people!

It was Mike and I’s turn to host the tailgate so in true Mississippi fashion we decided to have a catfish fry. Mike was responsible for all of the cooking(which was nice for me). He fried up 15 lbs of catfish and we also had french fries and a true southern delight, hush puppies! The Dawg’s won so it was a good end to a fun day!

Mike frying up the Catfish! 

Sunday was a nice lazy day spent cleaning and reorganizing the disaster known as my closet! I also spent the day snuggling with this little angel! All in all it was a great weekend spent at home and it was a nice break from traveling!

Stay southern,

Finally Football!

The then “future Arnold’s” at the MsState v. Carolina game 2011

Today is the official start of the 2013 college football season!! As a southern girl I grew up going to games and listening to sports talk(ad-nauseam) from everyone I knew. My parents were not huge sports fans but I had plenty of family that was and I quickly became a lover of all things SEC football. It truly is a way of life and it is a great time of the year to go to games, tailgate or just sit at home and watch on tv! We live smack dab in the middle of a college town and we take part in all things Mississippi State football! But if you know me AT ALL then you know I am hands down a Carolina Gamecocks girl! Today Carolina plays Yankee Carolina…we need to send those guys back up north where they belong 😉

In honor of today and the beginning of football season I wanted to share a recipe that would be an amazing addition to a tailgate party! We’re actually going to enjoy it tonight as we watch the game! If you have never heard of the Captain Rodney’s products then you’re in for a treat! We discovered this great recipe at a Christmas party a few years ago and it has been a go to appetizer for us since! The recipe is a fantastic addition to any party you host or attend!

Captain Rodney’s Cheese Bake

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • One 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • Two cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • Two green onions(chopped)
  • Six Ritz crackers(crushed)
  • Eight slices bacon(cooked and crumbled) or 1/2 real bacon pieces
  • 1/2 cup of any Captain Rodney’s glaze

Mix mayo, cream cheese, cheddar and onions in greased quiche pan(or 8×8 pan). Top with crackers and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Top with bacon and Captain Rodney’s glaze. Serve with crackers.

I hope you enjoy this football season as much as I plan to! If you don’t like football there will always be delicious food and cocktails!

Stay Southern,